Mt Ventoux. Climb on!

The Giant of Provence

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Elevation 1909m / 6263ft
Average grade: 7.6 %
Maximum: 12 %
Location: Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur

Fresh from watching the newly released movie ‘First man’ in my favorite movie theater in Carpentras, a small village in south-east France, I decided it was about time to go and try to get my moon.

I’m not a professional athlete and I haven’t done much cycling either, but I just had to tick it off my list and prove myself that I could do it.

The ‘beast’ -as it has been nicknamed- is 1912m high and it’s visible from almost anywhere in the Vaucluse-Provence area, due also to the fact that it stands alone without similar mountain ranges nearby.

The summit derives its fame as well from having been ten times the finish line on Tour De France, and from having claimed the life of Tom Simpson, a British cyclist, during the race in 1967. Venteux means wind in French, indeed the riding is often challenging due to the strong ‘mistral’ that blows at about 90+ km/h (56+ mph) most days of the year.

I left after the usual coffee ritual in a sunny morning in October from Carpentras – 20km from Bรฉdoin- which is the starting point of the most famous and difficult ascent. From there the riding distance to the summit is 21,8km at an average grade of 7.8%, that becomes not less than 9% toward the end, and un unforgiving peak of 12% at the very last bit.

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I was with two other friends of mine, we didn’t do any research beforehand, I just grabbed my toolbox kit (tire lever, mini pump, spare tube), sunglasses and Clifย bars.

The first km I thought in my mind c’mon this is not too bad!- the fall colors were so beautiful, the air so clean and crisps and I was just happy to be on the bike witnessing all the beauty around me. You couldn’t see the summit in the forestry part, but you knew it was there, ‘few’ km away.

I decided that I would not get off the bike until I reached the top, but at half my bidon of water (-14km to go), I discovered that it would be a very hard decision to maintain. The stone on the side of the road marked the distance to go and it always seemed too far.

Yet, I did not quit and with 4km only to separate me from the summit I could see the white observatory arise in the barren, almost lunar landscape.

Last 3, 2, 1km… what a view!

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Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed”
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About me

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Hi, my name is Francesca and I come from Bari, a city in the south of Italy, in Puglia.

I always loved chocolate, pencils, books, maps & pizza.ย I reckon that one of the greatest pleasure in life is a good cup of coffee, best if sourced ethically and consumed in cool places.

I consider myself an overthinker, nature lover, solitude seeker, adventures chaser kind of person.

After graduating in Philosophy in my hometown and a couple of years of intense overthinking, I’ve understood that a 9/5 job was not even close to what I wanted my life to be.

I lived in Italy, USA, Spain, Uk, and Australia. I backpacked in South America, South East Asia, and New Zealand. I did a bike trip in Tasmania and tried to circumnavigate Menorca in a kayak.

I supported myself doing random jobs, at times working very hard, but for a short period of time, and traveling for months after. Other times doing work for accommodation and earning skills rather than money.

The only reason I am writing all of this here is to tell YOU to never fear to live high, live free & live simple.